Governing by Goals: Governance as a Legal Style

36 Pages Posted: 19 May 2010

See all articles by Pauline C. Westerman

Pauline C. Westerman

University of Groningen, Faculty of Law

Date Written: January 10, 2007


Although governance is sometimes used as a mere buzzword, it is also a program for reform. In this program, the focus is on the efficient and effective achievement of goals on which fundamental consensus is assumed to exist. Where this program has been executed it has brought about some important changes in the legal landscape. These changes concern the nature of rules as well as of principles. In the formulation of rules, results and objectives are emphasized rather than the acts or processes leading to those results. This new kind of rules enables the smooth production of policies, but cannot serve as compromises between conflicting interests. New principles are introduced as well: the principles of proportionality, subsidiarity, transparency and accountability. Also these principles are dependent on the assumption of consensus on aims. They are hard to reconcile with the traditional principles of legal certainty and equality

Keywords: Governance, (frame-work)directives, subsidiarity, proportionality, transparency, accountability, soft law, consensus, civil society, output-legitimacy.

Suggested Citation

Westerman, Pauline C., Governing by Goals: Governance as a Legal Style (January 10, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Pauline C. Westerman (Contact Author)

University of Groningen, Faculty of Law ( email )

9700 AS Groningen

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